Sometimes, there are books you don`t really have much to say about. They were only a couple of pages, or didn`t leave much of an impression, they might not be the pinnacle of the literary fiction genre (heh, when do I ever read those to begin with, let`s be real here).
I have a couple of those books, that I did put as “read” on Goodreads but didn`t have much to say about. I`ve been unsure of whether or not to write reviews for them, so about 5 minutes ago I decided: you know what? I`m going to do a combined post with quick reviews, and get a couple of them done in one go!
I know, I know, I`m brilliant.
#1: Lady in Dread, by Ryerson Johnson
The first of a whole series of cheap 50`s/60`s pulp fiction books I picked up, in which a narcotics cop in disguise gets caught up in some very messy illegal matters in a small town south of Chicago. It involves the mafia, pretty girls, opium trade, nightclubs, and everything else you`d expect of a 60`s pulp fiction, right down to the almost caricaturistic bad guys. I have to be honest here: I huffed at some of the casual misogyny in the beginning of the book, just to be pleasantly surprised later on when it turned out the girls were, in fact, playing everyone and could handle themselves. Some nice twists and turns in the story, though entirely forgettable once finished. Speaking of which: it took me a long time to read this, it can be a hard book to get into at first. Which is not a good thing when you only have 200-something pages.
Still, I rated it 3/5 stars.
#2: The Call of the Weird, by Louis Theroux
A follow-up to several of Louis Theroux`s documentaries, including Weird Weekends, this book describes how Theroux travels through to the US to track down some interviewees he remembered. I was a bit hesitant at first: I did enjoy the documentaries, because I like the human stories, but they also left a bit of a bad aftertaste thanks to the whole “this people are so WEIRD just look at them!” vibe, as if these adult people who made their own adult decisions and opinions, were actually dancing monkeys in a zoo. For a while I thought Theroux would reach the same conclusion – that maybe he should have handled the documentaries differently – and in a way, he did. But unfortunately the book still left a similar weird aftertaste, and I`m still not entirely sure what to think of it.
#3: De Odyssee van Asterix (The Odyssey of Asterix, by René Goscinny & Albert Uderzo)
One of the Asterix & Obelix comics, where Getafix runs out of a crucial ingredient of his magic potion: rock oil. Asterix and Obelix offer to go on a mission to retrieve the oil straight from its origins in the middle east, where they run into a lot of interesting new cultures and people. I`m sure this book is filled with a ton of anachronisms (and some casual racism), though some of the commentary and jokes were really very amusing. It might have been a nostalgic read for me, it was also an interesting new look on something I idealised through childhood memory and cartoon-ish movies. I`ll probably buy more of these, though I`m slightly adjusting my expectations while I`m at it.
#4: The Kraken Wakes, by John Wyndham
This is the second book by John Wyndham I`ve read, after reading The Day of the Triffids a while ago. The Kraken Wakes also deals with strange things falling down from space, a very slow apocalypse that has more to do with how humanity fails to handle problems accurately than an actual threat from non-humans, and a slow disintegration of society. I did enjoy this one, though I thought there were just a bit too many similarities to The Day of the Triffids. While interesting, I also thought this one was kind of forgettable and not particularly impressive. Recommended mostly for fans of apocalyptic fiction who don`t mind reading about similar themes several times. If you`re a bit pickier though? Stick to The Day of the Triffids.